Arallu are a band that have been releasing quality music for almost 20 years, and their fifth album, Geniewar, sees the band losing no momentum or creative power. It’s an engrossing listen, and by rights the band should be at least twice as popular as they actually are. With that in mind, let’s take the time to catch up with Arallu and find out a bit more about what makes this very individual black metal band tick…
Introduce us to Arallu!
Hello from Jerusalem.
Arallu was founded in Jerusalem, in the middle of the conflict between the religions around the old city of Jerusalem in the 90s. When you live as the terror is surrounding you. Want it or not, it inspires you whatever you do.
I remember the bus exploding next to me and the hatred comes through the news. I was 16 years old and the extreme black metal concept around Europe came to my life. Mixed with bloodshed around Jerusalem what brought Arallu band to life.
Arallu music is inspired by the events in the Middle East and Jerusalem, and the global terror around the world. I believe Arallu has its own sound and brings something new and fresh to the metal music. We work hard not to sound like other bands, and bring our own ideas and sound to the metal music around the world.
What are your influences?
We’re inspired by the old school metal music of the 90s. You can find in Arallu’s music bands like the mighty Venom, Slayer, Celtic Frost, Bathory, Mercyful Fate, Deicide, Morbid Angel and many more, combine with the desert and the sound of the Middle East music. The bands I mentioned are the basis of our music but we are working to bring the Middle East inside our music.
Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend.
The last release from the Polish Mgła “Exercises in futility” is a really great album, Behemoth “Satanist” too, the new album of Rotting Christ – “Rituals” is very fresh and special album, Paradise Lost – The Plague Within amazing album.
Tell us about your latest release Geniewar
GENIEWAR is Arallu’s fifth album and we’re getting good feedback for now and we hope it’ll continue. Like every album of the band the music doesn’t catch your ears right away. It takes time. Like the old black metal albums of the 90’s. You have to give it a chance and listen carefully. Those who’ll listen to GENIEWAR carefully will really like it. I believe, like the other albums, people will understand the main idea of GENIEWAR after a few rounds. We really want to believe GENIEWAR will open new doors and will take us to a new way that we never knew. We try to bring each album its own sound. Each album has its instruments and ideas. Usually beside the electric guitars and drums we combine in the music a Middle Eastern drum beats and Darbukka (Middle Eastern percussion). You can find it in every album, but each album we bring other instruments like Saz, Oud, Fluts, Kanun and other ideas. Arallu’s discography talks about the ancient world when demons and sorcerer ruled the earth, you can find the metaphor between the ancient world and the exchange of the world today. It all connects in one big concept and all of us are waiting when the Mesopotamian Empire to arise and finally destroy the religions and what they represent. This empire will rise from Jerusalem. That’s why everybody fights for this city. By all mystical books, Jerusalem is the main place of the new world. In GENIEWAR, we are going forward with the old releases. All around Arallu is the ancient time of Middle East era (called Mesopotamia) until the declaration of Israel state wars, bloodshed, and the conflict between the religions around Jerusalem. GENIEWAR brings a different side of that. A part of this album speaks about the wars around the declaration of Israel in 1948, the six days war of 1967 and the war in Syria and Iraq of 2013 but it’s all connected around the reason for these hard days of blood everywhere around the Middle East and Jerusalem.
What are some of the lyrical themes on the album about?
Arallu is a radical band in the music and the lyric. We do not hate anyone or anybody because of his skin colour or his religion. Our lyrics are clear! We coming against what is offensive and hurting us. Us as human beings, us as individuals. The people in Israel don’t know what good life is. We are busy with worrying about personal and national security. Our lyrics are straight in your face, against the religions and what they represent and of course the people behind them. You think the authorities like what we do? No! But we play black metal, we’re walking on the edge, not everybody likes what we do but for now we didn’t have any problems, and no one tried to censure us for now. We are artists and I hope the authorities understand that.
GENIEWAR talks about all those things. From the wars of the ancient times as kings tried to rule Jerusalem, to the wars of today as ISIS are trying to destroy and kill anyone who doesn’t agree with their religious views. This album is the mirror of the human race, hypocrisy of the governments all around the world including Israel, and the unwillingness and fear to fight against the extreme religion leaders.
What’s the process you use for writing songs?
When I start to feel the anger start to flow in my veins I pick up my guitar and start writing some riffs. This is the beginning of the process. Unfortunately together with that, the world is constantly providing me with ideas to write lyrics, especially there days. When I have a few riff I’m sending it to my band members and we meet in the rehearsal room and start working on a new song.
How do you go about successfully integrating the Middle Eastern melodies and influences with the black and thrash metal sounds?
The basis of Middle Eastern music is very similar to metal music. Middle Eastern music is also very hard and full of pain and control emotions. When you mix it together, for me it sounds very natural. I was raised on Middle Eastern music. It’s the soundtrack of my childhood. When I started to write the Middle Eastern riffs in 1996, it sounded very new and very interesting for me. I didn’t find any conflict when I played on my guitar Middle Eastern riffs with distortion and blast beats.
What’s your favourite song on the album and why?
Mmmm it’s hard to say… because if we didn’t like a song, I think we wouldn’t have put him in the album. I can tell you that I really like “Coronation” and “Bloodshed Around” because you have in these two songs the main idea of Arallu. They are really fast and aggressive songs, the Middle Eastern unique beats blend in perfectly, and the lyrics are directly about the situation around us.
Why did you choose to cover Iron Maiden’s Powerslave on Geniewar?
Actually it was the idea of Yishai from “Raven Music”. He asked us to make a special version for this song because he thought this song is exactly like Arallu music. Like we covered Slayer “Evil Has No Boundaries”, that sounded like Arallu, here is the same. To copy the song is easy, creativity is hard. About the cover of Iron Maiden, we took the song and made it like an Arallu song. You can feel there the atmosphere of pure desert wind. That’s the main idea of creativity. As the army comes to attack, he looks for the surprise the enemies and that exactly ARALLU are, we’re looking to surprise the listeners and create our own sound even if it’s a cover.
How important is album artwork to you?
The art work is not less important than the music inside. I think the music and the art work of the album is about creativity. The cover art is supposed to give the listeners the first hint of what’s inside the box. The cover art is supposed to bring the atmosphere of the album out to the eyes of the listener before he listens to the music inside.
How do you think Arallu fits in with the global metal scene in 2016?
It’s very hard to fit in the metal global scene of today. There are a lot of metal bands all around the world. And the music is online more than on a cds. When you publish a YouTube link of a new video or a new song, in the same time thousands of new song are published too, so it’s hard to get the opportunity for a new fans. We performed in Switzerland, Hungary, Germany and Turkey. We supported Mayhem, Enslaved, Behemoth (twice), Marduk and Tribulation in Israel and we get really great reviews about our sound and show. Next month for the first time after almost 20 years since Arallu was founded, we will play in a real metal fest in the Czech Republic – “Metal Gate Death Fest” together with Napalm Death, Dodheimsgard, Avulsed and others. I don’t think Arallu got a real chance to break. After Almost 20 consecutive years of the band’s creativity, 5 full albums and 3 DVDs we deserve to a real chance to show the global metal scene what we are. But unfortunately this chance has not come….
Playing live – essential or pointless?
For the format music of today, and how the music is published today, live shows are more essential than albums.
What will Arallu be up to for the rest of the year?
We’re looking for more shows outside of Israel and when we return from Czech Republic we start work for the 6th album of the band.
Thank you very much for this interview. Say hello to all the fans in the UK, and that we’re hoping to come preform in the UK someday.